The Alternative Book Awards

The Quiddity of Will Self, by Sam MillsEvery year there are a number of major awards for literary merit. The Booker, Orange and Nobel prizes are just some of the better known. There are the Guardian First Book Awards (announced last week), the Costa Book Awards and the Specsavers National Book Awards, as well as many specific prizes for particular genres of literature.

Back to Blood, by Tom WolfeAnd then there are the alternative awards, to denote works of (ahem) lesser merit. One of these is the Bad Sex in Fiction Award awarded by the Literary Review for ‘the most egregious passage of sexual description in a novel’. The winner is due to be announced later today.

Nominees this year include:

However J K Rowling (The Casual Vacancy) and E L James (Fifty Shades of Grey) both failed to make the shortlist!
Past winners include Tom Wolfe in 2004 (will he do it again this year?), Norman Mailer in 2007, Rachel Johnson in 2008 and David Guterson in 2011.

All the above suggests the possibility, purely with tongue in cheek of course, for some other alternative awards for books, which may or may not be of recent publication. May we propose:

Atlas of remote islands, by Judith SchalanskyThe Duff Award for Travel Guides

Atlas of remote islands: fifty islands I have not visited and never will
by Judith Schalansky

This is my life, by Mary ByrneThe Most Unimaginative Biography/Autobiography Title Award

This is my life
by Mary Byrne

My dad was nearly James Bond, by Des BishopThe Most Intriguing Biography/Autobiography Title Award

My dad was nearly James Bond
by Des Bishop

This is not a novel, by Jennifer JohnstonMost Misleading Title Award (or The Magritte Award for Surrealism)

This is not a novel
by Jennifer Johnston

Don't read this book, by Jill LewisThe Gerald Ratner Award for Self-Deprecation

Don’t read this book!
by Jill Lewis

Me and my sisters, by Sinead MoriartyThe ‘Eats, shoots & leaves’ Award for Bad Grammar

Me and my sisters
by Sinead Moriarty

And finally, a festive one:

The dinosaur that pooped Christmas, by Dougie PoynterThe Sickbag Award

The dinosaur that pooped Christmas
by Dougie Poynter
(“What happens when a naughty baby dinosaur eats Danny’s whole Christmas! Well, he’ll just have to poop it all back out, that’s what!”)

Think you can do better? We’re sure you can! Nominations and new award suggestions welcome…



One response to “The Alternative Book Awards

  1. And the winner was… Nancy Huston, for Infrared:
    You can find out just how bad it was (the sex, not necessarily the book) by borrowing it from Westminster Libraries.


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